Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘retirement years

Any Day

leave a comment »


Lately, I have noticed I am experiencing a pang of underlying guilt over not being fully aware of what day of the week it is. It is commonly expressed that the absence of a work schedule in one’s life will bring about this phenomenon of losing track of the days. It’s truly a luxury to not know. I feel rich beyond my means when I find myself basking in the gentle breezes through the trees at the lake on a Sunday evening when the majority of weekend vacationers have returned to their homes.

There were days throughout my years of gainful employment when I suffered under the pressure of showing up day after day for the grind of my multiple different day jobs. At the same time, I found myself rather well-suited to such a routine of scheduled days. I mostly looked forward to seeing people and tending to whatever business situations required attention.

I wasn’t very fond of being told the toilet wasn’t working in one of the restrooms, but most other issues were useful fodder for doing what I had been hired to do. It’s a bit of a shame that some issues continue to show up in my overnight dreams. Saturday night it felt like I worked hard all night long through multiple dreams. I was trying to train a new employee while simultaneously attempting to cope with other side issues and periodically straining to figure out why I was back at work again after having been gone for so many months.

I found myself semi-lucidly questioning the dream whenever I surfaced toward consciousness through the night and then regretting when a return to deep slumber brought the same dream back to right where it had left off.

During my working years, I had moments of envy for the people I knew who no longer noticed what day of the week it was, but I don’t recall ever begrudging them that luxury. Now that I have achieved that same privilege, I feel bad about celebrating it when so many others still have to log their time.

Facing the undeniable shared challenges of showing up on the first day of the work week. People compare stories of what each other’s weekend entailed and commiserate over the concept of a week ahead. Then, the survival strategy of lauding the midweek milestone of “hump day.” Finally, the thrill of reaching the last day of the week with its lure of soon-to-be-reached days away from the job.

This morning is simply another “any day” of the week for me. Cyndie will be staying up at the lake longer this week and I am driving home today with her mom. I’ll be on my own for a few days at Wintervale before heading right back up on the same day that Cyndie gets a ride home with a friend.

We’ll be like ships passing in the night on any old day of the week.



Written by johnwhays

August 1, 2022 at 6:00 am

Big Think

with 3 comments

I’m not sure about the trick of living in the moment while trying to make big decisions that have the potential of dramatically changing the rest of my life, but that is the reality that simmers beneath my every minute lately. As Cyndie slips ever deeper into focusing her time on caring for her parents, decisions being contemplated have the potential of defining whether we will stay on this property or go.

There is a challenging balance in a committed relationship of cultivating what we want together as a couple while also honoring each of our individual desires. That would be made a little easier if we both definitively knew what it was we wanted the rest of our functional years to look like.

I had no idea that our empty-nest years would lead to the gorgeous property we found that became our Wintervale. The seed for this dream originated from a supernatural meld of both Cyndie’s and my interests and experiences, but I would not have arrived at this point without her energy driving most of the outcomes.

That same inclination has me leaning toward following her lead again as her focus has changed, despite my heart increasingly being gripped by the sanctuary of the forests and fields, and beautiful log home where we’ve been living for the last seven years. If I could figure out a way to afford it, I’d stay here even if she moved in with her parents –sighting the year we lived apart when she moved to Boston as a case study precedent– but that might be at odds with achieving our best long-term joint effort.

Neither of us knows how well our health will hold out, how climate catastrophes will impact the coming years, whether our meager retirement accounts will protect us from the next recession, or what future life events will demand our attention, but those unknowns are all lumped into our thinking as we consider the big “what next.”

I want to also include the simple joys of standing still in the woods and listening to the natural sounds that surround me. Breathing in the forest aromas and feeling the reality of temperature and precipitation against my skin. Walking over the rise in our open fields to feel the wind when it blows, or the stillness when it doesn’t.

At the same time, I’ve lived in town and know the conveniences associated. I would welcome the opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint and return to riding my bike more than driving my car.

I tell ya, living in the moment of planning the future is one heck of a big think.



Written by johnwhays

January 12, 2020 at 8:57 am